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Cheltenham gets creative

From cars to mobile phones, design affects our lives in every way as the Cheltenham Design Festival shows

Back for its second year from 11-14 April, in a blaze of its signature yellow, the Cheltenham Design Festival will set the Parabola Arts Centre abuzz with debates, talks and interactive events that show the power of innovation.

Last year saw a host of world renowned creative thinkers taking the stage as designers, branding experts, engineers and digital masterminds talked about the power of creativity. For 2013 the organisers have added an extra day and invited even more innovators to demonstrate how good design improves our lives. This year's festival will feature even more family events, including a series of fun, free workshops for young artists, inventors and photographers. If you think creativity doesn't touch your own life, think again. Everything around us is designed; our phones, our cars, the chairs we sit in and the shoes we wear. Good design is seamless; when it works we don't even notice it's there. This four-day event is a chance to see creative thinking in action and take part in some fun and fascinating discussions and debates.

Motor enthusiasts have a chance to hear from Marek Reichman, Aston Martin's Design Director, who will explain how the iconic car manufacturer achieves a perfect balance of design and performance.

It's a rare chance to hear from the man behind one of the most prolific periods of new model introductions at Aston Martin – including the DBS which featured in the 2008 James Bond film Quantum of Solace. It's also an opportunity to under the bonnet of the Rapide S itself and appreciate its grace and poise.

The Cotswolds is a centre of innovation, a fact that hasn't escaped the festival's organisers. Oli Christie of mobile games studio Neon Play in Cirencester will be showing what it takes to create and launch successful mobile games while the architects behind the new-look Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum will be explaining how they took inspiration from the museum’s collection for the new design.

The Cheltenham Design Foundation, the charitable trust behind the festival, are passionate about nurturing creativity locally.

Their Design Academy, free Saturday classes for 14-16 year olds, has been a huge success and allows local young people to experience many different design disciplines. At the 2013 Festival, all young creative minds can get involved in the Sunday Studios, free to 8-16 year olds.

Covering illustration, inventing and photography, these hands-on workshops are a great way to explore ideas and see where they lead. In the Ideas Lab workshop, budding inventors can get tips from the Science Museum's Inventor-in- Residence Mark Champkins, who'll be showing how to research ideas, take them to the next level and pitch a product. As a successful candidate on the BBC's Dragon's Den, Mark will also be giving advice to inventors for all ages in the Parabola's main auditorium so it's a great opportunity to learn from someone who actually tamed the Dragons!

During the Festival there will be events and workshops taking place at the Parabola, so you can soak up the atmosphere and discover something new. This year's Design Academy students will be showing an exhibition of the work they've produced, from soft drinks packaging to self-portraiture and building designs – a chance to see what the next generation of Cotswolds creatives are up to.

Tickets will be on sale from the Town Hall box office or the Cheltenham Design Festival website. To find out about all the events, sign up for the Sunday studios and to buy tickets, go to